Friday, October 10, 2008

Our favorite physician and her comment of the day...

Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma recently presented Dr. Dana Stone with the organizational Margaret Sanger Legacy Award and in honor of the "40 days" people, I wanted to share her exceptional thank you speech with you.

"I was honored, pleased, and very surprised when I learned that PPCO had given me the Margaret Sanger Legacy Award. Margaret Sanger dedicated her life to improving the reproductive health of women. Women owe a huge debt of gratitude for her work to assure that we have the right to plan our families. A woman’s health, and the health of her entire family, is directly linked to her reproductive health and her ability to plan the number and spacing of children.

We take for granted our ability to make choices about childbearing now. Unfortunately, radical forces are gradually eroding our right to make these very personal decisions. The Oklahoma State Legislature passed a law last year that interferes with a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy, even in the case of significant health problems for her or her fetus. This past session, the legislature passed a wide-ranging bill that made terminations more cumbersome and imposed mandatory and invasive procedures to be done before an abortion. These were developed to make abortion humiliating and more expensive.

Some states are considering laws that will define life as beginning at conception. And if they are considering it anywhere, you can believe it won’t take long for the idea to make it to Oklahoma!! The people who propose these laws believe that most types of birth control are equivalent to abortion. (Check out the website if you really want a scare.)

People who call themselves “pro-life” and work to overturn Roe v Wade seem to believe that if abortion is illegal, it will disappear. I consider myself pro-life. I don’t think you become a physician unless you value human life and want to preserve it. But, two recent studies demonstrate to me why abortion should remain “safe, legal, and rare.” The World Health Organization published a study which showed that, country by country, abortion occurs at about the same rate regardless of the legality of the procedure. Horrible complications of abortion, however, occur almost exclusively in countries where it is illegal.

A second publication documented the death of an adolescent girl in Portugal, where abortion was illegal. She took eight times the normal dose of an abortion medication and died of internal bleeding and organ failure two days later. You cannot doubt that illegal surgical and medical abortion will occur with devastating consequences to women’s health if the “proponents of illegal abortion,” as I have decided to call them, have their way. Planned Parenthood wants to work with people on all side of the abortion debate to prevent abortions in the only way that really works--by improving access to birth control and preventing unplanned pregnancies.

The most frustrating thing I hear as I talk to legislators is “my district is pro-life.” They hear from the radical right--not from the majority of Oklahomans who believe women and their families need to make their own decisions about these difficult issues. Please sign up for legislative updates from PPCO, contact your legislators on issues that you care about, and pass the information on to your friends. Our national and state leaders must hear our voices, and in larger numbers than ever!!

Dr. Dana Stone

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